October cherry blossoms at Hatoyama Agriculture Park
Hatoyama is a town in the Hiki district of Western Saitama. It is a town that has always baffled me. Wealthy to a T, or maybe that should be a tee for all the luxurious golf courses it boasts, but yet the town has few public facilities or attractions in it.
Hatoyama is also home to the only manicured housing estate I have ever seen in Saitama, New Town Hatoyama, which in turn is home to the many scientists of Jaxa, the earth observation center. You would think that the latter pays enough tax to the municipal government to fund some more parks or decent playgrounds.
Hatoyama Agriculture Park
What Hatoyama does have is lots of nature, cycling routes and hiking trails. But in terms of parks , while there are officially 33 (really) small parks in the area, Hatoyama Agriculture Park is the only one that is a decent size. And even at that it is still quite small relative to parks available in other towns. You could walk the circumference in ten minutes.
The park only has a small playground with three pieces of equipment, but it does have a decent splash pad with a fountain in it and a wading river in summer. The playground equipment is a flying fox (zip line), a slide and a spring ride.
There are two water features in the park, a river and a short walk through some woods. The park has a public building in it that is sometimes used for events. There is a rest area and vending machines in that building. There are also toilets there and beside the wading river.
October Cherry Blossoms
I have driven by Hatoyama Agriculture Park many times over the years, but I had no inclination to go because I knew from online reports it wasn’t a particularly engaging park. However, last year I found a blog post about the cherry blossoms in the park and it piqued my interest.
There aren’t that many cherry blossoms in the park, but they are picturesque when in bloom. What is interesting about them though is that they are the rare type that bloom twice, known as October Cherry Blossoms “Jyugatsu sakura” in Japanese. They are also referred to unofficially as autumn cherry blossoms or “aki sakura” in Japanese. October sakura are different to winter cherry blossoms, which also bloom in October but stay in bloom until December.
The October cherry blossoms in Hatoyama Agriculture Park are true to their name and only bloom in October. I left it too late to visit this year. And after a day of rain yesterday, today October 30th 2019, the blooms were already 98% finished. There were four trees with a handful of blooms still in tact between them, but the vast majority of the branches are now bare for the winter. And yesterday’s rain washed away the beautiful petals and blooms that had fallen from the tree.
However, in 2020 if you would like to see some October cherry blossoms in bloom this is one of only a handful of places you can see them. Jomine Park in Kamikawa Town is the most famous place to see cherry blossoms in October. Those cherry blossoms are actually winter cherry blossoms and bloom until early December. In November, you can see cherry blossoms in bloom at the same time as the resplendent autumn leaves in their fall colours.
Hatoyama Agriculture Park Information
|Address:||1427 Akanuma, Hatoyama, Hiki District, Saitama 350-0321|
|Hours:||Open 24 hours|
|Cost:||Free with free parking|
|Online:||Official web page on the Hatoyama town website|
There is no train line in Hatoyama town. The nearest train station is Takasaka in Higashimatsuyama city, the station used for the Saitama Children’s Zoo. It is on the Tobu Tojo line that runs from Ikebukuro in Tokyo. There is a bus that runs infrequently from the station to Hatoyama New Town. The park is about a 20 minute walk from the housing estate.
Likewise, there is no expressway that runs through the town. The nearest highway access point is Tsurugashima Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway in neighbouring Tsurugashima. There is parking for about 30 cars.
Close to the park there is a beautiful garden cafe and bakery “Gu Choki Pan“. The same name as the shop that Kiki works in, in the Ghibli Movie Kiki’s Delivery Service: